Best Foods for Postpartum Recovery

Best Foods for Postpartum Recovery

When a woman has a baby, her body goes through a strenuous process to support that baby’s growth and health. This article will cover the best foods for postpartum recovery to help your body regain optimal health. 

Deficiencies During Pregnancy and Postpartum 

During pregnancy, the mom’s body can become depleted due to the demand for what her growing baby needs. Additionally, suppose a mom heads into pregnancy with some pre-existing deficiencies. In that case, it can be an uphill struggle to truly replenish nutrients in order for the mom’s body to repair adequately.

If breastfeeding, the demands for replenishment are even greater. The typical suggestion is to continue your prenatal vitamin postpartum while you are nursing your baby. But in many situations, a variety of things become depleted that are not present in a standard prenatal or are not present in high enough levels. 


Is Diet Important Postpartum? 

In the postpartum period, many women experience what is referred to as ‘postpartum depletion.’ On average, a woman’s body takes 2 to 3 years postpartum to recover and restore its nutrient reserves. What mom is eating is essential to her recovery during the postpartum period. 

When a woman is having children close together, doesn’t have strong dietary support for replenishment, and is living in a high-stress state, we can sometimes see this postnatal depletion lasting up to 10 years. 

Establishing a plan for the postpartum time can ensure that women receive the proper repair and recovery necessary to replenish their nutritional stores and decrease risk factors for depression, heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, and insomnia. 


Best Foods for Postpartum Recovery 

Here are the best foods for postpartum recovery that every woman should consider adding to her diet after the baby arrives. 

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are high in DHA, which is important for both mom’s and baby’s brains if the mom is breastfeeding. Fish low in heavy metal toxins are the ideal foods for Omega 3 fatty acids.

Best sources: Wild-caught salmon, sardines, and anchovies.


Protein-rich foods 

High-protein foods are essential for replenishing iron stores which keep your system oxygenated and energized. Additionally, proteins are made up of amino acids, which are considered the building blocks of all life. 

Best sources: Organic free-range chicken, grass-fed organic beef, wild-caught fish, and eggs.  



Iodine is important for neurological development and repair. It’s also essential for thyroid health. One of the best dietary sources of iodine is seaweed, and most individuals these days do not include seaweed as a regular staple in their diet.

Additionally, many women who follow a healthy diet tend to avoid table salt and stick more to Himalayan and celtic salts. While this is a positive health move, we need to remember that table salt has iodine added to it due to the number of people not consuming enough iodine in their diet. If you lose this dietary source while cleaning up your diet, it’s essential to be mindful of this particular nutrient. 

Best sources: Dulse flakes sprinkled on salads or in soups, eggs, and organic beef liver.


Warming foods

Warming foods are both warm in temperature and internally warming from a Chinese medical perspective. Warming foods tend to be foods that are restorative and nutrient dense. These types of foods contain a variety of amino acids and collagen which are essential for systemic healing.  They are key players in supporting perineal and pelvic floor healing.

Best sources: Bone broth, soups, hearty stews full of grass-fed meats, and organic root vegetables.



Another aspect of replenishing cells during the postpartum state includes ensuring proper rehydration and mineralization. Giving birth itself results in a large amount of fluid loss. Additionally, if you’re breastfeeding, hydration is one of THE most important aspects of cellular support. 

When we say hydration, it’s important that we recognize water itself is not enough. And while this may feel like an ‘extra’ thing to worry about, proper electrolytes and minerals in your water ensure that this water is properly funneled into your cells and results in optimal cellular function.

Options for implementing this into your lifestyle include adding a pinch of pink Himalayan salt in your first glass of morning water or adding an electrolyte or mineral supplement. 

Best sources: LMNT electrolytes, Quinton isotonic minerals, and body health electrolytes. 


How to Incorporate These Foods to Enhance Postpartum Recovery

Remember the importance of preparation for adequate postpartum nutritional support. After your baby comes, the last thing you’ll want to do is stand in the kitchen prepping nutritional foods while you’re low on sleep and high on demands. 

Preparing a list of things that will be rejuvenating to you in the postpartum period is a great thing to share with your loved ones. Often they want to help, but they don’t know the best way how. Additionally, you can add this to a note or list for your baby shower. Let your support team know that nourishing foods will be so important to you and one of the best ways they can support you. 

Taking time to prepare and freeze meals ahead of time is another great option. 

And lastly, often, it’s difficult for the dad or the partner who didn’t deliver a baby because they want to help, but so much of the demand during the newborn phase is on mom. Give dad a list of nutritional foods that will help you heal and recover. Let them know how much of a help this is for you and also for the baby. 

Loved reading about the best foods for postpartum recovery? Interested in more information on postpartum recovery and support? 

If you need help determining which nutrients your body is lacking or most needing heading into delivering your baby or during the postpartum period, our functional medicine providers can help you apply the appropriate tests needed to assess where your body is at currently and make the proper suggestions to ensure your repair and recovery.

Check out our fertility and postpartum services page, and reach out to us to get started